appeals his 14-day involuntary commitment by challenging the
sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that his constitutional
right to a jury was violated, that the court relied on
improper evidence, and that the court failed to comply with
RCW 71.05.240. We find no error as to the first two claims
and that the error as to improper evidence was harmless.
Because the court failed to comply with its obligations under
RCW 71.05.240 regarding notice as to the loss of T.C.'s
constitutionally protected firearms rights, we reverse and
served in the Army for three years. On February 20, 2018, he
went to the King County Veteran's Program (KCVP) office
to receive services. While waiting in the lobby, T.C. noticed
that there was discussion on the television of a recent
school shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed.
According to Brian Fry, a manager at the KCVP's office,
T.C. became agitated in the lobby and refused to fill out an
application as requested by staff. When Fry confronted T.C.,
T.C. expressed further frustration and made the comments
"[t]his is why people go postal" and "[t]his
is why places get shot up." Fry told T.C. to leave,
however he refused which eventually led to the arrival of
police and T.C.'s arrest for misdemeanor harassment.
in custody, T.C. was referred for civil commitment for
involuntary mental health treatment. A petition for 14-day
involuntary treatment was filed on February 28, 2018 which
alleged that T.C. was gravely disabled as a result of a
mental disorder and presented a likelihood of serious harm to
others. The hearing occurred later that day. The court did not
inform T.C. orally or in writing that he would lose his
firearm rights if he were involuntarily committed, or that
this could be avoided if he made a good faith effort to
voluntarily participate in treatment.
hearing, testimony was taken from T.C, Fry, and Hyemin Song,
a licensed clinical social worker at Cascade Behavioral
Hospital who had evaluated T.C. Song testified that T.C. had
a mental disorder and the working diagnosis for him was
psychosis. She further testified that this mental disorder
caused T.C. to be both "gravely disabled" and a
substantial danger to others. Fry testified as to the events
at the KCVP office that he had been fearful of T.C. during
findings on the hearing acknowledged that the court found
both Fry and Song's testimony to be credible and that
T.C. was not credible at all. The court stated that T.C. made
inconsistent statements. The court also specifically stated
"[T.C.] says that there was a courthouse built on First
Avenue in 1999, which is not accurate. I'm a judge and
have been in practice here in Seattle for much longer than
since 1999 and that courthouse doesn't exist." The
court noted other inconsistent statements and an apology by
T.C. for statements he attributed to the television.
judge found T.C. suffered from a mental impairment that had a
substantial adverse effect on his cognitive and volitional
functions and that he posed a substantial risk of serious
physical harm to others as a result of his mental impairment.
The court made this finding based on testimony from Song and
Fry. Additionally, the judge found that if T.C. was not
detained, he posed a future danger to others. The court
rejected the state's argument that T.C. was gravely
timely appealed arguing that the trial court lacked
substantial evidence to have granted the 14-day petition and
that the judge improperly relied on personal knowledge as
evidence. T.C. also challenges the constitutionality of his
14-day commitment hearing as a violation of his right to have
the matter heard by a jury. Finally, T.C. asserts that this
court should reverse and vacate the order of commitment due
to the court's failure to comply with RCW 71.05.240(2).
This statute requires the court to advise a patient facing
involuntary commitment, such as T.C, orally and in writing
that a commitment finding results in the loss of his firearm
rights and that this outcome could be avoided through
voluntary participation in the recommended treatment.
Evidentiary challenges to T.C.'s involuntary commitment
Sufficiency of the evidence supporting the order for 14-day
first look to T.C.'s argument regarding the sufficiency
of the evidence to commit him for 14 days based on the
court's finding that he presented a likelihood of serious
harm to others as a result of a mental disorder. Appellate
review of the trial court's ruling on involuntary
commitment is limited to determining whether substantial
evidence supports the findings and, if so, whether those
findings support the conclusion of law and judgment. In
re Pet, of A.S., 91 Wn.App. 146, 162, 955 P.2d 836
(1998). "Substantial evidence is 'evidence that is
in sufficient quantum to persuade a fair-minded person of the
truth of the declared premise.'" Id.
(quoting Holland v. Boeing Co.. 90 Wn.2d 384, 390,
583 p.2d 621 (1978)). The burden is on the challenging party
to demonstrate that substantial evidence does not support a
finding of fact. Id.
may order a person held for 14 days of involuntary treatment
when the state has demonstrated by a preponderance of the
evidence that, as a result of a mental disorder, the person
presents a likelihood of serious harm or is gravely disabled.
RCW 71.05.240(3); In re Pet, of W.C.C.. 193 Wn.App.
783, 785-86, 372 P.3d 179 (2016). A "mental
disorder" is an organic, mental, or emotional impairment
that "has substantial adverse effects on a person's
cognitive or volitional functions." RCW 71.05.020(37). A
"likelihood of serious harm" means "a
substantial risk" of physical harm to self, others, or
property of others. RCW 71.05.020(35)(a). For a finding of
substantial risk of harm to others, the State must
demonstrate "behavior which has caused such harm or
which places another person or persons in reasonable fear of
sustaining harm." RCW 71.05.020(35)(a)(ii).
court here entered findings and identified the evidence upon
which it relied in reaching those findings after the hearing.
Based on Song's testimony, the court found that T.C.
suffered from a mental disorder as defined in RCW
71.05.020(37). The court relied on the testimony of both Fry
and Song to find that T.C. was likely to cause serious harm
to others if not detained due to his conduct toward others at
the KCVP. The court correctly stated that all that is
required under the case law and RCW 71.05.020(27) is that
another person be placed in reasonable fear of sustaining
such harm. The Supreme Court has stated, "We thus
interpret RCW 71.05.020 as requiring a showing of a
substantial risk of physical harm as ...